Sunday, October 4, 2009

When a Hamburger is no Longer Benign



I was reading this article this morning in the New York Times and I had to take a break because it was so freaky and upsetting. It reads like a horror story. The heading of the article: Trail of E. Coli Shows Flaws in Inspection of Ground Beef. Then it goes on to tell the story of this poor 22 year old dance instructor who becomes paralyzed from the waste down after a 9 week coma which all started because she ate a burger that her mother grilled for her.

The movie Food Inc. follows Barbara Kowalcyk who has become a "food activist" since her 2 1/2 year old child Kevin dies from E. Coli he got from a hamburger bought from a Jack in The Box. She now is fighting to give the USDA the power to shut down plants that repeatedly produce contaminated meats.

Here's the most spin chilling, yet somehow not surprising paragraph from the article:

Unwritten agreements between some companies appear to stand in the way of ingredient testing. Many big slaughterhouses will sell only to grinders who agree not to test their shipments for E. coli, according to officials at two large grinding companies. Slaughterhouses fear that one grinder’s discovery of E. coli will set off a recall of ingredients they sold to others.

The fact that the government lets this happen, that the government who is aware of these practices is so unwilling or unable to regulate and properly over see basic food safety is beyond shameful it's criminal.

I could go into a big political diatribe, but instead I'd just say that if you are going to buy ground beef or really any meat you should get it from a very good source, meaning specifically a butcher who you know and trust and hamburger should be ground sirloin, one piece of meat that is then ground. It should not be hundreds of pieces of random cow spit from a huge machine in a factory, ground altogether and finally shit out onto little styrofoam squares ready to be covered with plastic and sent to your local fast food chain or grocery store.

In New York City I'd recommend Marlow and Daughters.

No ones life should be destroyed or ended because they ate a hamburger. I mean this is something that happens in poor countries right? This can't happen here? The patties that this poor 22 year's mom made that nearly killed her, were produced and marketed by the giant food corporation Cargill and packaged as: American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties



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